Silent Chapters- (One Thought-Two Genres-Two Writers-1 Title)


SILENT CHAPTERS ( The Poem) Osowe Oluwagbenga (@gbengaosowe)


Mum says it’s a clinic, but all I see is a room full of books;

Big and small, written and illustrated by women like my

Mother, men like my father? Maybe!

Maybe I’d write a book one day.

Hard-covered, gilt-edged, with words masterfully crafted to

Recount the ordeals that have brought me to this place filled with books,

Part written by men like my father who are nothing but crooks with good looks


I am sitting on the couch in the clinic watching my mother and a man. 

My mind is locked up in a place far away,

Feeding fat on memories; not of days or hours but years

Of fun and love, years before the war.

Wars; not between nations or tribes but my mother and father,

Parents whom I once adored


I remember the day it all began,

Dad’s staggering steps, his speech- a blur

Mum’s stunned look as she beheld her husband;

Inebriated, wasted, the foul smell from his mouth – putrid and

Pervading the atmosphere with every belch

The morning after, I heard loud, angry voices,

Then sobs, in a low moan- gasp- moan-gasp sequence


I remember the grotesque look on my father’s face

As he threw punches that would make fine pugilists jealous,

I can almost touch my mother’s scarf -covered head;

Wrapped tight to hide external bruises whilst internal ones-festered,

Breeding on discontent and fostering hate.

Yet mum stayed silent and nothing changed.

She is a book filled with stories untold that she thinks concern only her.

 But the sights I saw,

Seemingly locked up forever, are holding session in my head.


Mummy calls this man a doctor,

And he keeps on mentioning my name with words like “traumatized”, “psychoanalyze”, and “shock”. 

This man’s many questions sends mummy’s glances my way as she answers.

Do they think I am sick?

I wish they could read the stories indelibly written on my mind with

The ink of memories, illustrated with graphic images of dad’s punches

And mum’s swollen faces.

 If only they could read the Silent Chapters

Etched on my mind and know that her trauma was always mine.



SILENT CHAPTERS (The Story) – Toyin Fabunmi



The woman and her son walked into the cool ambience of the clinic at exactly 1.55pm which was a few minutes before their appointment. She wrapped a shawl around her shoulders to shield herself from the cold air. She greeted the receptionist and handed her the appointment card she had been given on her first visit.

‘‘You can go in madam, Dr Kole is expecting you.’’

‘‘Thank you.’’

‘‘Hello madam,’’ the doctor said standing up from his desk as they entered the office.

‘‘Hello Doctor’’, she replied shaking his hand. I love this place she decided taking in the ornate Mahogany desk, the sturdy shelf filled with enormous books, the three huge vases of flowers and the two lavender couches placed on the right side of the room. ‘‘Cool’’ she thought.

‘‘Say hello to the doctor’’ she told her son who had busied himself with biting on his nails.

‘‘Good afternoon sir’’

‘‘Good afternoon young man.’’ The doctor said stretching out his hand for a shake.

Mayowa glanced at his mum and took the handshake reluctantly.

‘‘What’s your name young man?’’

‘‘My name is Mayowa.’’

‘‘How old are you?’’


‘‘Okay let’s talk; your mum would excuse us for now. Mrs Adesan, please seat over there.’’ he said pointing towards the couches.

The mother left and the psychiatrist went on to ask other questions just to put the young man at ease. He asked about his hobbies and was amazed at his knowledge of football and especially about his professed club.

‘‘Do you like girls?’’ He asked suddenly

‘‘No!’’ The boy exclaimed

‘‘They are very rude, irresponsible and uncultured.’’

The doctor was taken aback wondering who would have used such words in the child’s presence. He couldn’t imagine how a nine year old would use the words ‘’uncultured’’ ‘’rude’’ and ‘‘irresponsible’’ in the same sentence. He was also alarmed at the amount of hatred the child had for females.

‘‘I don’t like them, he continued. Dad doesn’t either and that’s why he slaps mum all the time.’’

‘‘He slaps your mum?’’

‘‘Yes, he does but he said it’s only because she is irresponsible.’’

‘‘Do you think your mum is irresponsible?’’

‘‘I don’t know, but dad says all women are.’’

‘‘I don’t talk to girls in school and if they talk to me I slap them so they don’t talk to me again.’’

‘‘Alright, Mayowa I understand how you feel and why you feel that way.’’

‘‘We would have these talks every Wednesday evening, your mum will bring you and we would discuss for about an hour. ‘‘I hope to be able to share my thoughts about women with you but for today we are done.’’

‘‘You can sit over there while I have a quick discussion with your Mom’’; he said pointing to where the mother sat.

‘‘Thank you sir.’’

‘‘Bye dear’’.  The doctor replied

‘‘Mrs Adesan’’, he called

The woman stood up and took the chair her son vacated.



‘‘Madam for me to help your boy, your husband will have to come in for counseling.’’

‘‘I don’t know how possible that will be sir.’’

‘‘Listen madam, the boy is seriously traumatized; your husband’s actions have formed a very dangerous impression in his mind. I tried to psychoanalyze him a bit and what he said was really disturbing. Therapy won’t help him if he goes back to the house and he is still exposed to your husband’s influence. He needs help too so your boy can be alright.’’

‘‘Okay, doctor’’ she said fighting back tears. ‘‘How about I divorce him and make sure my son doesn’t come in contact with him.’’

‘‘I don’t want you to do that ma’am. I believe in mending things. Find a way to talk him into coming.’’

‘‘Alright doctor, I will do that.’’

‘‘Have a nice day sir’’; she said signaling to her son that it was time to leave.

The doctor watched them as they left amazed at how much hate the boy already harboured at such an early age.

‘‘Some men are bastards’’, he muttered under his breath.

***Stop Domestic Violence against Women, It traumatizes the children****


 photo credit:google images

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